K-Rino is a hard man to keep up with. Since he resurrected his career in 2004 K-Rino has been hitting us with a constant barrage of albums and compilations. I’m not complaining, but it’s tough to keep track of K-Rino and the South Park Coalition. This CD dropped along with “The Headhunters” compilation in 2006. By the time I copped this, K-Rino had already dropped “Book Number 7” along with an album release DVD. As you read this review, K-Rino has already dropped part one of his “Triple Darkness” trilogy and part two is set to drop next week. If that wasn’t enough K-Rino for you, part three isn’t far behind while an Australian tour DVD is already available. Basically, there couldn’t be a better time to call yourself a K-Rino fan. The only drawback is that unless you live in Texas and have a reputable independent record store around you’ll have to hit up the internet to get your fix. Thankfully, you can hit up K-Rino himself at www.SouthParkCoaltion.com to cop all the latest CDs as well as out of print classics. If this review reads like one big advertisement it’s because I’ve been a huge fan of the Houston lyricist for a long time. “Time Traveler” is the latest K-Rino CD I’ve gotten around to reviewing and like the rest it is nothing but quality.

K-Rino’s appeal lies in his ability to mix conscious, lyrical, and gangsta rap into an intelligent and entertaining format. K-Rino exudes the same Texas swagger and lifestyle you hear from guys like Slim Thug, Lil’ Flip, and Paul Wall but doesn’t promote the ignorance and lazy lyricism usually associated with gangsta rap. His style would be comparable to Chamillionaire if it wasn’t for the fact that K-Rino has been doing his thing longer than Chamillionaire has been alive. The proper comparison is that Chamillionaire’s style owes a lot to K-Rino. “Talkin’ Loud” is the perfect example of K-Rino’s appeal as he teams up with Z-Ro and complements Z-Ro’s gangsta tales with his own lyrical threats:

“I ain’t no gangsta, but on the mic I make boys bail
They run up in my set tripping, I check ’em like voicemail
Records dropping no promotion but they manage to sell
My folks want ’em worse than boys want naked pictures in jail
I leave you swoll up in a corner with a ice bag on ya
You so brand new you still got the price tag on ya
You wanna be me, the flow murdering three deep sprayer
It’ll never work, like putting a 8 track in a CD player
I don’t bar these Hollywood cats, it’s all about me
You can’t see me, like a blocked number on a caller ID
You got a entourage, trust me you could still get smacked
On songs bragging bout pistols that your homeboys pack
I’m frustrated and I’m broke, but I’m keeping the faith
I wrote my own name on a list of the people I hate
And I don’t rehabilitate devils, I kill ’em escape
I ain’t gon waste my time trying to make a snake fall straight”

K-Rino doesn’t stop at adding lyricism to the usual gangsta tracks as he isn’t afraid to make conceptual music. On “Valley of Decision” he has a conversation with God and Satan as they both try to win over his soul, while he explains his version of time travel on the title track:

“I’m seeing far places and evil that’s unformed yet
The reincarnation of people who ain’t born yet
Bomb threat, tropical storm making your palms sweat
Human unicorn who ain’t developed his horn yet
If you blind follow my design and find me
Ahead of my time like I got a clock behind me
This is a class to me, you want me just ask for me
I travel so far ahead your future’s the past to me
We are all time travelers, each one of us holds the capacity
To transport ourselves to any period of existence
Past present or future, the abstract method of travel is the human mind
The concrete method is our own divine blood line, time travel witness it”

The most significant event in K-Rino’s life during the making of this album was the untimely passing of friend and member of the South Park Coalition, A.C. Chill. K-Rino makes a fitting tribute to A.C. Chill on the Super Crunk assisted “You Never Know:”

“A.C. god rest his soul, lost him at 36 years old
I miss my boy and how we use to roll
Life is good but sometimes it’s cold
Same old story written in stone
We never honor people until they gone
The night you called it never crossed my mind
That I was hearing your voice for the very last time
Man since then I been wishing
To see you roll up in that Expedition
Saying some’ing funny breaking me up
Or knocking on my window waking me up
I use to get mad when you did that then
Now I’d pay to have you do it again
People you just met you let em in close
I felt like I knew you better than most
So when I see and hear things each day
I picture you there and I know what you say
Yeah A.C. would of laughed at that
I hope you know that I had your back
The times we argued and almost scrapped
Killing emcees way back in the gap
We was partners though music put us on the map
We’re ninety percent friends and ten percent rap
When one was hungry the other one fed
When I struggled you gave me a job and break bread
Back in the days we would mob to the club
You introduced me to the woman I love
Man I wanna grab them throwback years
When I talk about ya I gotta hold back tears
I got your family that’s my obligation
If they need me I’m right there no hesitation”

While K-Rino has always been a master of storytelling and vivid description, he saves his best work for his heartfelt tribute to A.C. Chill.

K-Rino is one of the best lyricists hip-hop has seen and the man’s longevity and skill is showcased on every release. You won’t find any cookie cutter production or radio friendly tracks on “Time Traveler,” but you will find a man who speaks from the heart and knows how to get his message across. As is the case with K-Rino, production on some tracks could be improved, but that is a small complaint and K-Rino manages to save the few boring beats with his superb lyricism. Overall, this is another great K-Rino album and as I have done with every other release, I highly recommend it.

K-Rino :: Time Traveler
8Overall Score